Mitchell's Fine Chocolates

Well into the 20th century, waves of immigrants swelled Cleveland's ranks. Among them was a Greek native by the name of Chris Mitchell. Rather than contenting himself with a factory job, however, Mitchell tried his hand in business. Unfortunately, it was during the Great Depression and Mitchell’s first three businesses failed. But then he made a particularly astute observation: One business that seemed to thrive despite hard economic times was cinema! For his fourth endeavor, Mitchell thus chose to open a candy shop next door to the Heights Theater in 1939. More than three quarters of a century later, the store is still a Cleveland Heights icon.

Originally located on Euclid Heights Boulevard, Mitchell's was not the only store selling popcorn and penny candy to moviegoers. At one point there were as many as sixteen others in the Cleveland area. However, when movie theaters started bringing concessions in house, businesses similar to Mitchell's began to die out. Rather than suffer the same fate, Chris Mitchell deemphasized popcorn and other inexpensive sweet treats and focused most heavily on chocolate. The store's chocolates and the methods by which they are made have remained the same for decades, with the exception of new molds, a few modern machines, and the introduction of more products.

Chris Mitchell's new wife, Penelope, joined the business in 1949, a year after they were married. Their son, Bill, who had worked for his father as a boy, eventually inherited the business. After fifty-two years in Coventry Village, Mitchell's relocated to Lee Road in May 1991. Chris Mitchell died in 2000 at the age of 102. Penelope Mitchell lived until her late nineties. She passed away in 2015, assisting in the shop until shortly before her death. In 2016, Billy Mitchell finally decided it was time for a change. The business is now owned by Jason Hallaman and his wife Emily, who are committed to maintaining the Mitchells’ impeccable legacy.

The view from the shop windows may have changed, as have the owners. However, the tastes and smells of fresh, hand-dipped chocolate remind loyal customers of the small candy store where they would spend their dimes as children.

Images

Audio

Greek Candy Makers
The owner of Michell's Fine Chocolates, Bill Mitchell gives a history of Greek-owned candy shops in Cleveland.
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Chocolate Cartel
The owner of Michell's Fine Chocolates, Bill Mitchell talks about how the fall of the Berlin Wall affected the price of chocolate.
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Dark Chocolate
The owner of Michell's Fine Chocolates, Bill Mitchell tells how his chocolate shop is different than others.
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Evolving and Expanding
The owner of Michell's Fine Chocolates, Bill Mitchell lists some of the new items he has introduced over the years.
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Mitchell's at the Movies
Dennis Coughlin describes Mitchell's Candies' original location beside the Heights Theater.
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Documents

NameInfoActions
Beginnings wav / 1.99 MB Download
Becoming a Chocolate Housewav / 6.55 MB Download
Different Neighborhoodswav / 4.04 MB Download

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